They Came to Play

Release date:August 13, 2010


Director:Alex Rotaru

MPAA Rating:N/A



Genre:Documentary, Music

Official website:

Plot Summary:

A multi-award-winning, uplifting feature-length documentary chronicling the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, hosted by The Van Cliburn Foundation. Top amateur pianists from all over the world, ranging from self-taught to classically-trained, aged thirty-five to almost eighty, convene in Fort Worth, Texas for a week of competition, music and camaraderie. Entertaining and above all, inspiring, the film provides an intimate look into the lives of these colorful, multi-faceted competitors as they strive to balance the demands of work and family with their love of music. Years of dedicated preparation culminate in top-level performances before a professional jury and discerning audience during three nerve-wracking elimination rounds. All of the film's heroes have made their careers outside of music in fields ranging from medicine to business, and professional tennis to education. For competitors who have faced such extraordinary challenges as drug addiction, AIDS, or political asylum, the competition is also a triumph over adversity. For all, it represents an overwhelming desire to express a deeper side of themselves, musically and otherwise. Commentary from noted American pianist Van Cliburn and gold medalists from the Foundation’s professional competition, along with outstanding performances of great classical masterworks—from Beethoven to Alkan and from Rachmaninoff to Barber—complement the action in a film that celebrates the creator and the competitor in each of us.

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